Today in Rock & Roll History: February 21st

1964: New York band The Echoes recruited a teenage piano player named Billy Joel. The quartet played covers—specializing in British Invasion songs—under the names The Lost Souls, The Commandos, and The Emerald Lords before Joel left the band two years later and joined Long Island group The Hassles in 1967. Joel had been inspired to start a career in rock and roll after seeing the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show.

1964: The Hollies’ cover version of Doris Troy’s “Just One Look” was released as their fourth single in the UK. It later reached #2 on the British chart.

1964: The Rolling Stones’ version of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” was released as the band’s third single in the UK. The record became their first British top 10 hit, reaching #3, and was their song to chart in the US.

1966: “Nowhere Man” by The Beatles was released as a single with “What Goes On” as its B-side exclusively in the US, where it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1966: “Good Lovin’” by The Young Rascals was released as the second single from the group’s debut album. After lead singer Felix Cavaliere heard the original recording by Los Angeles doo-wop group the Olympics, The Young Rascals added the song to their concert repertoire. Their version became their first top 40 hit and their first #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that spring.

1967: Pink Floyd started their first recording sessions at EMI Studios in London for their debut album Piper at the Gates of Dawn, working on the song “Matilda Mother” (then titled Matilda’s Mother”) with former Beatles engineer Norman Smith as their producer. At the same time, the Beatles were making their final recordings for “Fixing a Hole” in Studio Two next door.

1968: New York band Blood, Sweat & Tears released their debut studio album, Child Is Father to the Man. The group was co-founded by former member of The Blues Project, Al Kooper, who was ousted from the band after the recording of their first album.

1969: Three months after the release of his self-titled debut album, Neil Young released his first solo single, “The Loner.” It was an edited version of the album track and featured the non-album track “Sugar Mountain” as its B-side.

1970: “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” by Edison Lighthouse entered the Billboard Hot 100 after topping the chart in the UK. The song made it to #5 in the US in March.

1970: The Jackson 5 made their television debut on ABC television’s American Bandstand performing “I Want you Back” and their new song, “ABC.”

1972: Led Zeppelin released “Rock and Roll,” the second single from the group’s fourth album.

1973: The Edgar Winter Group’s instrumental “Frankenstein” was released. The track’s title comes from the fact that it required numerous edits to reduce its length and that the end result had been spliced together from many sections of recording. Originally released as the B-side to “Hangin’ Around,” the two were soon reversed by Epic Records when disc jockeys across the US and Canada realized that “Frankenstein” was a hit. The record went on to become the band’s only #1 single in the US in May.

1973: The Temptations released the studio album Masterpiece. The title refers to the album being not the group’s intended masterpiece, but producer Norman Whitfield’s.

1975: David Bowie released “Young Americans,” the lead single and title track from his ninth studio album. The song was a breakthrough hit for Bowie in the US and became his first top 40 single, reaching #28.

1975: Status Quo released their eighth studio album, On the Level.

1976: Peter Frampton debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 with the live version of “Show Me The Way” from his recently released double live album Frampton Comes Alive! The song reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the UK chart.

1976: The Four Seasons had their first and only #1 singe in the UK with “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).” The record later became the group’s sixth #1 on the US pop charts in March.

1984: The Go-Go’s released “Head over Heels,” the lead single from their third studio album, Talk Show.

1986: Elvis Costello released his tenth studio album, King of America. The LP was credited to “The Costello Show featuring the Attractions and Confederates” in the UK and Europe and to “The Costello Show featuring Elvis Costello” in North America.

1995: Bruce Springsteen performed live with the E Street Band for the first time in seven years at the Tramps nightclub in New York City.

Birthdays Today

Nina Simone, singer, songwriter, pianist, and activist, was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, NC in 1933.

Bobby Charles, singer-songwriter who composed hits that include “See You Later, Alligator” and helped pioneer the swamp pop genre, was born in Abbeville, LA in 1938.

David Geffen, businessman, producer, and founder of Asylum Records and Geffen Records, was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1943.

Johnny Echols, songwriter, guitarist, and co-founder of Love who also worked alongside Billy Preston, Glen Campbell, Miles Davis, and others, was born in Memphis, TN in 1947.

Jerry Harrison, songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist, producer, and member of Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers and Talking Heads, was born in Milwaukee, WI in 1949.

Vince Welnick, keyboardist who played with the Tubes and the Grateful Dead, was born in Phoenix, AR in 1951.

Jean-Jacques Burnel, songwriter and bassist and vocalist for the Stranglers, was born in Notting Hill, London, England in 1952.

Billy Earheart, organist, piano player, session musician, and original member of Amazing Rhythm Aces, was born in 1954.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer-songwriter, was born in Princeton, NJ in 1958.

Ranking Roger, vocalist for The English Beat, General Public, and Big Audio Dynamite, was born Roger Charlery in Birmingham, England in 1963.

Michael Ward, guitarist with School of Fish and The Wallflowers who has also recorded and performed with John Hiatt and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1967.

Corey Harris, acoustic folk, blues, and reggae musician, was born in Denver, CO in 1969.

Tad Kinchla, bassist for Blues Traveler, was born Thaddeus Arwood Kinchla in Princeton, NJ in 1973.

Rhiannon Giddens, folk, blues, and americana musician, solo artist, and lead singer and founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, was born in Greensboro, NC in 1977.